This will be quite challenging to put into action, but one thing is undeniable: THERE IS A NEED FOR A STRONGER PARENT-TEACHER PARTNERSHIP this time.
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How do we achieve it?
It seems that almost all the proposed solutions to the problem of continuing the students’ education amidst pandemic are not seen as effective. Online education may not be achievable due to different reasons like the lack or limited access to the internet and the poor performance of the internet connection in our country. Sending half of the student’s population to the school is not realistic too, since it just increases the chances of our young ones getting exposed to the virus.
And so, the continuing education of our students depends greatly on one of our stakeholders now: THE PARENTS. It is a given fact that all teachers want the students to continue schooling in every way possible, but how about our number one stakeholder (our parents)? How willing are they to put any effort into making the continuous learning of their children possible? How much do they want to get involved?
Parental involvement has always been a problem.Teacher Roselyn says when asked what challenges she commonly faces in teaching
Stronger Parent-Teacher Partnership Amidst Pandemic
There are many ways to achieve a stronger partnership between teachers and parents:
- Open Communication – at this point, clear and honest communication between teachers and parents must be established. Both the teacher and parent can help each other in tracking the academic progress of the students.
- Parental Involvement – the parents must be informed that this time when it is impossible for teachers to personally check the students from time to time, parents have to double their parenting effort by setting their children on track and from time to time checking and confirming their progress with their teachers. Giving instructions is not just the sole responsibility of the teacher but of the parents as well. The parents are an effective substitute for the teachers this time.
- Clear Objective – both teachers and parents must set a target. They should set expectations on what’s going to happen within the period of distance education.
- Willingness to cooperate – to get in touch with almost 100% of the families and to make sure that they have everything they need for their children to learn and give families whatever supports they need, or this is not an easy task. Teachers do handle a lot of students, and they can’t monitor them one by one. If the parents are willing to cooperate and are ready to go the extra mile just to achieve a successful continuing education of their children, then this new normal we have in education will come to fruition.
But there are challenges to a stronger partnership between teachers and parents:
Ang challenge naming ay yung ibang magulang na di pinupursigi ang mga anak to learn and be educated. Mahirap talaga kasi yung iba, mas malayo pa yung narating na grade level ng mga anak nila kesa sa kanila.teacher Evelyn from Alangalang, Leyte
Stronger Parent-Teacher Partnership Challenges
The following are among the challenges that must be given attention to:
PARENTS’ or GUARDIANS’ WHO HAVE LESS FORMAL EDUCATION
Not all parents can monitor their children’s progress. Some are clueless about how to do it because of illiteracy. This situation is more prevalent in rural areas or in remote places.
We read a lot about what parents lack, especially parents who live in poverty. Parental involvement is important, but how is it fair to ask these parents to do more? Especially since these are the same groups, who are more likely to have less formal education while being more likely to be essential workers or be more directly impacted by the pandemic economically and health-wise? (Forbes Magazine, May 2020)
THE NEED FOR MATERIALS
Yes, modules can be effective when the internet, radio, and television are not accessible, but not all teachers can afford to print modules and worksheets for their students. Teachers have limited resources, too, as they cannot spend that much in simply producing the printed materials needed by their students. Mass production shouldered by the school must be considered then.
SUPPORT OF THE HIGHER AUTHORITIES
In an article written by Collin Seal, he mentioned that the challenges involved in meaningfully and equitably involving parents in the academic success of their children are a huge issue that is still not necessarily a priority for school systems.
So, the question is: should the higher authorities in education be doing more to support families in their role as parent educators?
PARENTS LIVING IN POVERTY
There are many hindrances in engaging the parents from poverty-stricken families to their children’s education. But we cannot deny the fact that their participation is vital for the success of the children depends greatly on their parents. Families living in poverty do not need the sympathy of the government; they need their support. Our government, therefore, must make efforts to create opportunities for families to get engaged and involved in their children’s education. Improving the capacity of the parents to support the academic success of their children must be taken into consideration.
Parents know their children more than any teacher does while teachers know how to give instructions very well. If both of what they know will be combined, educating the children amidst this pandemic can succeed. The skills parents and teachers have, have a common purpose: to support the continuous learning of the children. This is the very foundation of a stronger partnership!